Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Africa Has Way of Identifying Fake Meds

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 21, 2010


I don’t know if these products come from China, but a high percentage of fake one’s do so…

But this company has set up an ingenious way for customers to find out if their products are fake. Now all we need to do is implement this across the board, and China will really be hurting.

excerpt Yahoo

“A new project called mPedigree lets consumers send in a code via text message that lets them check if their drugs are genuine. It was recently adopted in Nigeria, with plans for wider use elsewhere in Africa. Last month, the Nigerian government decided to introduce the technology for all medicines in the future, not just anti-malarials.

Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons developed the mPedigree system; its technology and security infrastructure is now being provided by Hewlett Packard. The system assigns a unique code to genuine malaria medicines, printed on the back of medicine blister packs under a sheet that is scratched off like a lottery ticket.

Customers send a text message to a central hot line with the code and instantly get an “OK” response telling them if the drug is registered and thus real. It also sends them additional information like the drug’s manufacturer and expiration date.

If the drug isn’t registered and potentially fake, people receive a text message that says “No. Please recheck code.” The system is free for consumers and is paid for by pharmaceutical companies and governments.

Health officials say the innovative system could help Africa curb the tide of fake drugs and potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives. Experts think about 700,000 people die from malaria or tuberculosis every year after taking counterfeit drugs, with some containing little more than sawdust, baby powder and water.

In addition, fake medicines speed up drug resistance. If a drug contains some but not enough of the active ingredient, it won’t kill the disease’s virus or bacteria, but gives it a chance to mutate into a deadlier form instead.

Knowing the drugs are real may also persuade more Africans to take them in the first place, saving even more lives.

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